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PBS News Hour

News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown. (2012) New. (CC) (Stereo)

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Us 18, Obama 12, Ohio 9, Florida 7, Washington 7, Sandy 6, New York 6, Virginia 6, Columbus 5, Brown 5, Michael Waldman 4, New York City 4, Warner 4, Wisconsin 4, Wanda Carter 3, Suarez 3, Kohut 3, Kurt Anderson 3, Rick Karr 3, America 3,
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  PBS    PBS News Hour    News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff,  
   Jeffrey Brown.  (2012) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    November 5, 2012
    3:00 - 4:00pm PST  

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: president obama and mitt romney sprinted through swing states making their final arguments on this day before election day. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we start with two reports from the candidates' command centers. ray suarez is in illinois, and margaret warner is in massachusetts. >> suarez: at obama campaign headquarters in chicago, they're confident of a narrow win. >> romney's strategists are counting on the undecided independent voters breaking his way. >> ifill: then, thousands of people in new york and new jersey are still without power, cold and in the dark even as schools and businesses reopen. kwame holman has our update, one week after the storm. >> woodruff: and special correspondent rick karr tells
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the story of a hard-hit brooklyn neighborhood struggling to get back on its feet. >> ifill: back on the campaign trail, we head to ohio, the ultimate battleground state, where volunteers on both sides took to the streets this weekend. >> now that we know who our president is and what he's willing to do for us, we are even more excited about getting him re-elected. >> this morning we hit 600 houses. this afternoon we probably hit about 20 or 0 houses. not everybody was home but enough people were home that we were able to spread the word. >> woodruff: we assess the polls and the state of the race on election eve with stuart rothenberg, susan page, and andrew kohut. >> ifill: lawyers gear up to monitor polling stations tomorrow. what will they find? jeffrey brown takes a look. >> woodruff: and from legalizing marijuana to gay marriage and taxes, we break down ballot measures worth watching. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> bnsf railway. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: the presidential contenders and their running mates dashed through eight states this election eve. with the race so close, it came down to one last drive to the finish line, and two very different paths to victory. we hear from margaret warner with the romney campaign in boston and raw suarez at obama
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headquarters in chicago. >> it's the final frenetic day of the final campaign of his political career. the president ran from state to state starting in madson, wisconsin. the star power was kicked up a notch with an introduction from rock legend bruce springsteen. >> i get to fly around with him on the last day that i will ever campaign. that's not a bad way to end things. >> suarez: mr. obama called on his supporters not to be frustrated by the pace of change. instead, he encouraged them to send a message to those who blockedded his policies every step of the way. >> what they're counting on now is that you're going to be so worn down, so fed up, so tired of all the squabbling, so tired of all the dysfunction that you're just going to give up and walk away and leave them... leave them right where they are. pulling the strings, pulling the levers. and you locked out of the decisions that impact your
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lives. in other words, their bet is on cynicism. wisconsin, my bet is on you. >> suarez: the president also accused his republican rival of trying to repackage old ideas and brand them as change. >> another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy is not change. refusing to answer questions about your policies until after the election, that's definitely not change. that's the oldest game in the book. >> suarez: for the president, today was all about protecting his midwest fire wall. he followed the wisconsin stop with an afternoon rally in columbus, ohio, a state both sides are fighting hard to win and where polls show the race is close. mr. obama plans to end the day in des moines iowa in the state that propelled him to victory in the democratic caucuses four years ago. >> we need you, virginia. suarez: vice president biden meanwhile held a pair of events in another key battle ground state: virginia.
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the campaign is headquartered in chicago where the president began his political career. obama national press secretary ben labolt said the main focus for the president's re-election team was getting supporters to the polls. >> we know this all comes down to turnout. we're focused on making sure that every piece of that operation is up and running at 4:00 a.m. on the east coast tomorrow morning. >> suarez: who is out there? is there an army of volunteers that didn't deploy? what are they doing? what are they looking for? >> they are and they're local. we're not talking about importing people into states where they haven't lived. that's the value of having an organization that we built over the several years. they know who the undecided voters are. they know who the obama supporters are. it's a call from a friend or a neighbor asking them to turn out that we think will be the most effective at the end of the day. >> suarez: even in the final hours before the polls open nationwide, the obama campaign says it believes there are still
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small pockets of voters out there who can be convinced to cast a ballot and cast a ballot for their man. my colleague margaret warner got a very different view of the same electoral landscape from the romney campaign. >> warner: after a frantic day-long campaign swing, mitt romney returns to boston tonight to await the voters' verdict on his seven-year quest for the presidency. with polls showing president obama enjoying a slight edge in several crucial battle ground states, romney's strategists are counting on the undecided independent voters breaking his way. >> i think the momentum remains with governor romney. >> warner: a senior advisor to the romney campaign. >> it's a close race. we knew it would be close. i believe at the end of the day it can be and will be decisive for governor romney. when i look at the numbers and the data and the underlying data i think the undecided voters are going tobreak strongly for the
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governor. >> warner: the romney camp also believes it has an advantage in the city of his core supporters like the crowd that greeted the governor at this early morning rally in sanford, florida. >> look, we have one job left. that's to make sure that on election day we make certain that everybody who is qualified to vote gets out to vote. we need every single vote in florida. ( cheers and applause ) >> warner: romney said tuesday will prove a turning point for the country. >> tomorrow we begin a new tomorrow. tomorrow we begin a better tomorrow. this nation is going to begin to change for the better tomorrow. >> warner: after florida he made two stops in virginia. lynchburg in the center of the state >> perhaps some of your family and friends have not yet made up their mind who they're going to vote for. so ask them to look beyond the speeches and the ads and all the attacks because talk is cheap.
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ask them to look at the record. a record is real and it's earned with real effort. the president promised change but change can't be measured in speeches. it's measured in achievement. >> warner: in fairfax an independent voter rich suburb of washington d.c. >> so many of you look at the big debates in this country not as a republican or a democrat but as an independent thinker, as an american. and you watch what's happened to his country over the last four years with an independent voice you hope that president obama would live up to his promise to bring people together. to solve big problems. he hasn't. i will. ( cheers and applause ) >> warner: in late afternoon he rallieded supporters in columbus, the capital of all important ohio. >> we feel good about the nature of the race. i think we're going to win ohio >> warner: do you see a path to victory without winning ohio >> there are numerous paths to
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victory to get to 270. but like anyone else, we'd rather get there with ohio than without it >> warner: ohio so crucial that romney's running mate paul ryan was there today to too. on the heels of stops in nevada, colorado, and iowa. romney's day won't end until midnight after an election eve rally in manchester, new hampshire. >> woodruff: late monday in a surprise move romney announced he will hit the trail one final time tomorrow touching down on election day in both pennsylvania and ohio. margaret talked with romney's communications director, gail gitcho, about the campaign's micro-targeting "get out the vote" effort, called the orca project, named for the killer whale. find that video online. >> ifill: coming up, we'll have much more on the end to the campaign, including the final push in ohio; state of the race analysis from rothenberg, page, and kohut; voter access to polling places, and initiatives on the ballot; plus, the slow
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recovery after the storm, and a day in the life of a hard-hit brooklyn neighborhood. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: the violence in syria swept up a new group today. fighting raged near a palestinian refugee camp in southern damascus. activists said palestinian radicals supporting the syrian government were battling other palestinians. elsewhere in the capital, a car packed with explosives detonated in a main square, killing at least 11 people. the blast heavily damaged nearby buildings, and littered the streets with charred debris. and in the central province of hama, a suicide car bomb killed at least 50 syrian soldiers and gunmen. across greece today, services ground to a halt in the face of a new protest against austerity measures. the governing coalition presented its latest package to parliament, $17 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes. in response, transport workers, journalists, doctors, and many shopkeepers stopped work for 48 hours. many showed up for marches in athens to show their opposition. trading was light on wall street today ahead of the presidential election.
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the dow jones industrial average gained 19 points to close at 13,112. the nasdaq rose more than 17 points to close above 2,999. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: the northeast took slow steps toward recovery today, one week after hurricane sandy hit. but for many in new jersey and new york, normal routines are still a long way off. we have two reports, beginning with an overview from kwame holman. >> reporter: it was the closest think to a full-scale morning commute since the storm hit a week ago. it taxed transit systems to the limit in new york city, connecticut and parts of new jersey >> we keep missing trains because it's so packed you can't enter the trains >> reporter: lines stretched for blocks as thousands of people tried to get to work. trains from new jersey to new york remained out, but key subway lines connecting manhattan to brooklyn under the east river were open. and the statten island ferry was running. >> i don't think it's really normal for anyone right now. we have so much on our minds
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right now especially for those who have family that lost everything, you know. not normal yet. >> reporter: the trarns it challenges came on top of a cold night for thousands of people still without power with temperatures dropping into the 30s. >> we have hot soup, hot chocolate, blank hes, cleaning supplies >> reporter: some 1.4 million homes and businesses across seven states still were in the dark. well more than 700,000 of those were in new jersey where governor chris christie visited with victims and volunteers today. >> there's still 760,000 people, households without power. that's still not good. but there's two million that have power that didn't last tuesday. >> reporter: in new york city power has been restored to nearly 80% of those who lost it. they are michael bloomberg said sunday the rest will have to wait a while longer >> conn-ed is getting to them. it will probably take the better part of this week for most of them to get back but you can see the end of that and they will be
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fine >> reporter: the mayor also warned today that some 40,000 people may need shelter >> many buildings re flooded well... flooded may well be out of commission for a long time because of damage to boilers and electrical systems. they may include public housing as well as private apartments. as i said before, i am very optimistic on us getting back not everyone but most of the public housing buildings and the developments that have suffered >> reporter: and the u.s. secretary of homeland security, janet napolitano, putting the housing issue at the top of her list as she toured damage in new jersey on sunday. >> the housing is really the number-one concern. we lost a lot of housing starts here in new jersey. and we don't even know yet which of the houses are repairable and which are irreparable losses >> reporter: getting fuel was an ongoing trial as well. long lines have become a fixture at service stations in new
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jersey where gas is being rationed and in new york where it's not. >> the cops told us to go down and turn around. we've been around the block five times. every time we come around it's a different cop telling us to go back the same way >> reporter: the lack of gas only added to the frustrations of some commuters today. >> i ran out of gas so i had to turn around and go home before i had to push my car home. with all the traffic and no trains running from brooklyn to manhattan, i couldn't get in >> reporter: still 90% of new york city's 1700 schools did manage to reopen today for the first time since the storm made land fall. >> pretty confusing because we got the call last night that the school was actually open. this morning it was kind of a hustle and bustle to get here on time >> reporter: schools will close again tomorrow for election day and with some polling places in the dark parts of new york will use alternate polling stations while displaced people in new jersey will be allowed to vote by email.
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meanwhile, amid all the problems, the region also is bracing for another round of damaging weather. a nor'easter is set to blow in wednesday with cold rain and winds up to 55 miles an hour. >> woodruff: to our second >> woodruff: and to our second story, a day in the life of one community in new york city, where residents are coping with power outages, housing problems and no heat as temperatures dipped below freezing. special correspondent rick karr spent yesterday in the red hook neighborhood of brooklyn. >> red hook brooklyn is defined by its relationship to new york bay. it's as close as new york city gets to having a waterfront village. but early last week the surging bay scarred the neighborhood. sunday morning broke crisp and clear and red hook streets were lined with black garbage bags filled with sodden debris that had been pulled out of hundreds of flooded buildings. residents had hung soaked linens out to dry. much of the neighborhood still lacked electricity.
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residents lined up at a gas station for fuel for their generators. pumps sucked water from basements that were still floodedded. as the morning went on, a new flood swept into red hook. hundreds of volunteers. requests for help pureed into a nerve center. coordinators assigned tasks to people who had come to help, handed out gloves, mops and cleaning supplies, and send the volunteers off to work. some of them distributed clothes, blank hes, food and supplies. others got to the dirty business of clearing water-logged wood and dry wall from flooded basements. stewart price was part of a group of 20 volunteers from tulsa, oklahoma >> we came up to watch the marathon. my daughter was going to run in the marathon. it was going to be a big celebration. they canceled it. we're so gratified that we're here to help others. we know in oklahoma we have tornadoes. let me tell you, we had the
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bombing. when we have our tragedies, people throughout the country, they throw in and they come help us. it's the least we could do. >> reporter: in red hook residents were pitching in too. >> sir, do you want a sanitation crew here tonight to do a pick-up? >> reporter: john has lived here for a quarter century. he's cochair of the red hook civic association. his house was spared. since the storm he spent 18 hours a day running errands of mercy and checking to make sure the power is coming back across the neighborhood from its industrial quarter to its large housing project. he hopes the storm will end up strengthening ties in what was already a tight-knit community. >> fine, fine you know your neighbors. in the past when we suffered the effects, the adverse effects of the environment, we did work together to prevent that. i think this will renew the bonds that were there once. it will also get us to ask questions as to how this can be
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prevented in the future. if we have to come up and recognize the global warming, global climate changes here and what can we as a society do to lessen the pollution that makes it so and to prevent the inundaition that's happened to many parts of the city. >> reporter: red hook has a tough history. it was the setting for the film "on the waterfront." recently the neighborhood has attracted new development. wine bars, cafes, trendy shops, expensive waterfront condos and homes. even an ikea store. those changes have skirted the public housing complex for more than half of the neighborhood's residents live. as the sun started to set and temperatures dropped towards freezing, residents of the red hook houses lined up for supplies. to get free electric space heaters. jesse fields got one before they were gone. his place has electricity but like much of the rest of the complex, no heat, no phone service and no internet. fields said almost none of his
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neighbors left after city officials ordered them to evacuate >> some people didn't leave because they were afraid that their house would be broken in, you know. when the lights are out and you live in these buildings it's a dangerous situation because you don't know who is lurking in the hallways >> reporter: once the storm ends, field said the gentry fying part of red hook along its main drag got all the attention >> i've seen them when they were pumping the water out. maybe a day after the lights were on. it's the people that have the money is the ones that's in charge. the ones that pay the highest are the ones in charge. just like wall street. >> reporter: the project's largest building had no utilities at all, no electricity, no heat, no water, no gas. residents had already spent nearly a week climbing as many as 12 stories through pitch black stairwells. >> anybody coming down? we're coming up.
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>> reporter: margaret lopez and her neighbors make that climb several times a day. she and her family including her year--year-old granddaughter melanie had huddled into one room to conserve batteries and heat. they still had no idea when the situation would improve. >> they would give us all kinds of stories. they promise us that it will be on yesterday. never came on. they promise it will be on day. never came on. some people say it won't come on until maybe midweek, next week. we don't know. nobody is giving us a direct answer. >> reporter: inside the red hook houses, the formula for surviving sandy's after math was the same as outside. >> keep your friends and your family close. you know, we're all... regardless of black, white, green, purple, no matter what color we are, we all got to stick together and help each other out. that's the best we can do. we have to survive. >> reporter: tonight margaret lopez and her family still neither heat nor electricity.
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with the temperature expected to dip to 30 degrees. >> ifill: rick karr has more from the close-knit neighborhood of red hook. you can read his reporter's notebook online. >> woodruff: we come back to politics and the presidential race. as it has been for months, ohio is the battleground of battlegrounds. romney trails the president in the polls but has kept the contest for the buckeye state close. he needs it more: his path to victory is easier if he can take ohio. should the republicans lose it, they'd need to capture most of the other battlegrounds tomorrow. but both candidates want it badly. i spent the final weekend of the campaign around the capital city, columbus, to see how it was all coming to a close. with its neat lawns and pretty houses, it doesn't look anything like a war front. but to the obama and romney
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campaigns, the franklin county suburb of upper arlington, just outside columbus, is one of thousands of political battlefields that have been carefully markd out in every corner of ohio. >> there's one left woodruff: in each one the infantry consists mostly of volunteers like retired vietnam veteran, now computer programmer, jeff johnson >> our goal is to turn out all those who haven't contacted recently to make sure they've either voted early or by absentee ballot or on tuesday. >> will you supporting romney and ryan >> absolutely woodruff: johnson, a loyal republican, has been on the front line canvassing his neighborhood since early september and says there's a big difference from the 2008 campaign >> significantly more intense. i think people are very unhappy with the present situation. they're worried about taxes. they're worried about the future. they're worried about the
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deficit. >> woodruff: a mile-and-a-half away in another part of upper arlington, the obama infantry is reporting back to base. the home of attorney wanda carter, a neighborhood team leader since may who for the last four days of the campaign has a new title: staging location director. hers is one of 860 across the state. >> we have more volunteers than we need >> reporter: like jeff johnson, wanda carter is clear about her and her team's mission. she also sees a difference from 2008. >> there is more enthusiasm rather than less. i mean it was very exciting in '08. very exciting. i think now that we know who our president is and what he's willing to do for us and how he's willing to fight for us that we are even more excited about getting him re-elected. >> woodruff: if there is more intensity and flood of negative ads from both sides on tv, wanda carter says obama supporter going door to door are
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encouraged to be the positive face of the campaign. >> we're not just gathering numbers. we do keep track, of course, but the real goal that we canvassers have is to have that personal touch with the person that answers the door and to show them that, you know, how we feel about the president and why we want the president to be re-elected. >> woodruff: to counter the more sophisticated detail-heavy obama field operation that was started earlier, there's an energy on the romney side that's lifting outreach well beyond what it was four years ago. >> we've not gone 20 times more... we've knocked on 20 times and made twice as many phone calls. that's hundreds thousands of people we've spoken to, left information for, cleked data on. a lot of those were independent swing voters. we've identified a lot of people that republican campaigns might have missed in the past >> if you look at these counties back in '04 and '0... >> woodruff: scott jennings who took over romney's ohio campaign
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in the summer ticks off county after county where he expects romney to do better than john mccain did in 2008. >> overall you'll see we were outspent. that's what makes mitt romney's resurgence even more remarkable >> woodruff: head to head the obama campaign has spent more. after adding in tens of millions of dollars from outside political action committees, so-called super pacs, romney's side has the overall money advantage. >> i'm with americans for prosperity >> reporter: and you of those outside groups americans for prosperity funded by conservatives including the mega donor cokh brothers has sent a small army of its own into ohio to help get out the vote >> we drove from missouri yesterday. took us about nine hours with a few stops. this morning we hit 600 houses and this afternoon we probably hit about 20 or 30 houses. not everybody was home but enough people were home that we were able to spread the word.
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>> you all will have door knockers >> woodruff: democrats are counting on traditional parts of their political coalition: organized labor and the african-american community. >> we're going to be working straight through election day >> reporter: afl i didn't a national president richard showed up in columbus over the weekend to cheer on canvassers >> mitt romney said let detroit go bankrupt. that would have meant let ohio go bankrupt as well. president obama stepped this and helped themment we're hiring right now in ohio >> i'm... woodruff: jason moore says g.o.p. moved to weaken collective bargaining have motivated both organized labor and taken a toll >> it's been a little bit tougher. everybody has kind of had enough quite frankly. so we're hoping to get our message out this year. and deliver a blow that will sustain and help us not have to fight these fights continuously in and out.
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♪ your mercy endures >> woodruff: another large outreach effort for the president has been lawmpled by african-american churches. yesterday they worked their souls to the polls initiative to get their members to vote on the next to the last day of of early voting. lori was one of the organizers >> because of all of the stop-gaps that have been put in place in all of the ways to try to suppress us from vote, i think it's actually ignited a fervor in people to want to do it just that much more. we want to get out in numbers, in record numbers, and push the vote out. >> woodruff: in fact, the best evidence so far of how the ground war is going is in the early vote. which began a month ago. despite moves by repuican state officials to limit the days and hours that early voting can take place, moves that democrats went all the way to the u.s. supreme court to challenge, as of this weekend, almost two million ohioans had
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voted early. on sunday the line at the one polling location available for all of franklin county, that line was wrapped several times around this parking lot. as the hours ticked closer to election day both the romney and the obama camp were expressing confidence. >> i'm calling today as a volunteer on behalf of the romney campaign. >> woodruff: republican senator rob portman >> we're winning among independents in 17 of the last 21 polls. we've been winning among independents average about ten points so it's hard to imagine how you would lose if you're winning by ten points among independents >> oftentimes you look at voter registration >> woodruff: ohio's state democratic chairman >> we have intimate relationships with our voters. we know who they are. we know their voting history. we know what interests them in terms of policies and issues. for the better part of the last four years we've had this relationship that we've cultivated so we're quite confident that our program is going to work and has worked. >> woodruff: what is certain is
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that here at the end both sides will work for every voter they can find right up until the polls close in ohio at 7:30 tuesday night. >> you have a great day. thank you. >> ifill: ever since this year's first votes were cast in iowa, our newshour political brain trust has joined us here to tell us what to watch for next. they're here again: stuart rothenberg of the rothenberg political report and roll call, susan page, washington bureau chief of "u.s.a today." and anew kohut, president of the pew research center. andy, i'm going to start with you because you have exciting new poll numbers orish say poll numbers which finally end this poll madness. where have we ended up? >> at the end of the madness, we have 50% saying they're going to vote for obama, 47% for romney. that's a statistically significant lead given that the sample is 2800 likely voters. about a week ago it was tied 47 to 47. an important message from the polls i've been watching including ours is the mow ten item seems to be going to obama
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over the course of the past week. >> ifill: does this last-minute trending in the direction of one candidate or another does it traditionally mean something or can it flip back the other way between the time you get out of the field and the time votes are cast >> when people's attitudes are in transition, one of a number of things are possible. it could be like 1980 where we're underestimating the obama vote. i don't think so. i think that there is still probably a fair amount of uncertainty in the electorate. we have 11% saying they might change their mind or they're flat out undecided. we know in exit polls when we ask them to look at tomorrow night we'll find eight or nine% saying i just made up my mind in the last couple of days. there's still the potential for change and still some things in this race that say this is... it ain't necessarily written. >> ifill: susan, judy spent her lovely weekend in ohio. where else are the final battles being waged? we're looking at ohio, florida, of course.
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virginia. a very important state. one good thing about tomorrow night is we have all these east coast states that are important. so maybe we won't have an end lets 2000 kind of night. the polls will close in florida, ohio, virginia, pennsylvania, new hampshire by 8:00. so maybe we'll have a very close race and it will go on forever because we'll have disputes. but maybe this will not be such a late night. you see that andy's poll and also the abc "washington post" poll also gives a three-point lead to barack obama. so after this long campaign where a lot of voters have been disappointd in president obama especially on the economy we may be seeing because of hurricane sandy and other factors people settling on him. >> ifill: let me ask you one other question, susan. it seems as some point we saw that the romney campaign, they're spending tomorrow, election day, in pittsburgh and in cleveland. what is that about? what does that mean? >> i mean this is obviously close. the usa today gallup poll swing states we were at 48%.
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you can't get any closer than that. the thing that could save mitt romney that could give this election to him is we continue to see republicans being more enthusiastic about the election than democrats. maybe that means that turnout will be better for republicans. on some of these very close states that could swing it. that is why you see him going to these states even on election day >> ifill: what does a race this close tell you about the electorate? >> it tells us something actually we've known for a long time. the country is roughly evenly divided. two very different views of government of the two parties. funny you should ask that. we didn't plan this for anything. but i went. .. >> ifill: you just happend to have this? >> actually i did. i went through andy's poll earlier in the green room there. i went through the various demographic groups. which party or which candidate is winning. it's not shopping but it's a reminder about how these divisions have existed for a while. up went through andy's poll. who is romney winning? he's winning whites. both men and women.
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let's be very clear. both men and women. he's winning religious voters, self-described conservatives, republicans and southerners. who is the president winning? african-americans, latinos, younger voters, lower income, self-described liberals including white liberals. democrats, voters in the northeast and west. i mean there are two big party coalitions. we've all this fighting for weeks and months. there has been some movement. independents have moved back and forth. i don't want to suggest otherwise. but we start with two big blocs in what i believe is a close to evenly divided country >> ifill: has that demographic hardened now, the demographic split between the parties? >> i think the demographic split that stu mentioned that's there. that's obvious. we've seen obama gain among whites over the course of the past week. gain among moderate voters. gain among independents so those are the contours but how it plays out within the contours that shape the votes, there are
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a number of indicators though in these surveys that suggest that obama has a lot of things going for him. first of all, his support the stronger than romney's. in the past 12 elections, the president or the candidate who has the stronger support, nine out of the last last 12 elections that candidate won. he has more positive support than romney. most people say they're voting for obama rather than against romney. the candidate with the positive ort typically wins. we see the public predicting by a very large margin a obama victory >> ifill: who they think is going to win. >> all of these things looking over 12 elections they all point to an obama victory. >> ifill: hurricane sandy you mentioned, susan, do we have anyway of knowing where that gave the president an edge >> i think it did a couple things. for one thing it showed the president as president, as commander in chief. that's better for him than being seen as a candidate.
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it also showed the federal government doing something that i think most people thought, yes, this is an appropriate role for the government this is something we want the government to be be prepared to do if a national disaster strikes our community. one of the most fundamental issues in this election is what is the appropriate role of the federal government with mitt romney expressing support for a much smaller role for the federal government and the president for a bigger one. the third thing it did was took a couple of days out of the campaign. mitt romney was making some gains. it took a couple days out, interrupted what is that final stretch. i think that also could have had an effect. >> ifill: tomorrow night when we sit down and try to look for the signs. you'll have to figure out what's going on. what are you watching for, stu, for signs of the outcome? >> well, obviously what are some of these early states. virginia, florida, ohio, and wisconsin i think are the big four. we'll be looking for independent voters. we'll be looking to see what the make-up of the electorate is. i think that's most important.
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how many republicans, how many democrats. how many independent voters. that's what i'll be looking for. andy is shaking his head >> i'm agreeing with you. what i'm going to be looking at is turnout. if romney is going to pull this thing out or win it's going to be because democrats have waiverred in their voting >> ifill: and whether his enthusiasm argument plays out in the end and people... >> that's right and whether the young vote, the nonwhite vote shows up at what we're predicting which is of course lower... we're predicting lower than 2008. but if he polls much lower that's problematic and positive for romney. >> can i real quickly. the romney folks and the republicans they have polls. i think they honestly believe that they're going to win or that they have a much better chance than andy's three-point or the "washington post"/abc. they see a different electorate. while i suspect most of us don't think that they're right. they could be. i think we need to keep that in
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mind >> ifill: susan, final thought what does this tell us about the course ahead? we're going to have this close election. two coalitions that have very different views about what the government should do, what course we should take. does this election lead us to just in a continued situation where we're at logger heads in washington and things just can't get done? >> ifill: susan page, stu rothenberg, andy kohut, thank you all very much. we are already getting a taste of the legal issues, challenges and battles at polling places that could decide the election. geoffrey brown has that >> brown: a number of voter >> brown: a number of voter identification laws were litigated in recent months, and largely put off to be decided after this election. but that's hardly the end of it: the campaigns, as well as outside groups, will have thousands of lawyers at polling stations and campaign headquarters, ready to challenge any irregularities. here to walk us through all this are curt anderson, an "associated press" legal affairs
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writer based in miami, and michael waldman, president of the brennan center for justice at n.y.u. school of law, a nonpartisan public policy institute. i want to start with you, kurt anderson, because down in your neck of the woods southern florida over the weekend, a lot of problems with long lines and then a lawsuit filed. bring us up to date. where do things stand >> it began are reactions to the shortened number of early voting days in south florida, the state as a whole. there were very long lines and the democratic party, some of its top officials, had wanted to have the governor extend the early voting period another day. he refused to do so. but in south florida, the larger counties decided on their own to supervisors of elections, let's go ahead and have people vote absentee as if it was an early vote. not exactly the same but almost. in miami what happened on sunday was the voting site became just overwhelmed with people. it closed down briefly. it opened back up again. and very kay on thetic.
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there were people banging on the doors. it was not a good scene. but at the end of the day, a lot of people did cast andson fee votes in person. then today it was a much more orderly process. they were open from 9:00 to 5:00. hundreds of people in line, people waiting 10, 15 minutes, not so bad. at the end of the day, in miami county about a third of the vote has already been cast. this was part of the reason why. >> brown: michael waldman to broaden it out nationally what is it all those thousands of lawyers will be looking at? give us a couple of examples. what's going on? >> well, the good news from their perspective is that so many of the laws as you said that were passed last year and this year changed voting laws that made it harder to vote. the vast majority of those laws were blocked or postponedded or blunted in some way. but there is still at the polling place shenanigans or problems that could happen. you could have voters who are in
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fact registered to vote showing up and being told in some way, hey, you're not on the list. in those cases voters need to try to make sure that their real records come up or cast what's called a provisional ballot which is counted later if there's some decision made that the person is eligible to vote. you see all kinds of disputes. in the court. at the polling places. about those issues of who in in fact is eligible to vote. in the 1800 alexis de tocqueville said in america every dispute ends up a lawsuit. we've seen that over and over again the way we run elections in this country in a somewhat slap dash and easily manipulated way where partisan politicians often control the mechanics of voting. >> brown: kurt anderson, you've been looking into this too. what other siendz of things that have you seen that is potentially happening that lawyers are watching >> there's a big issue with
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regard t the poll watchers and monitors. a group connected to the tea party based in houston has promising to bring thousands of monitors to various places to essentially what they say make sure that the vote goes correctly and the people who are eligible to vote do vote. >> brown: against voter fraud yes. however, there's a lot of people on the side of sort of the voting rights, civil rights side of things who say that these poll watchers will be deployed in minority neighborhoods and places where historically there's been issues with voters being intimidated or harassed or in some way perhaps not get to go the polls. so the monitors are going to be monitored by many of the... many of these voter access groups. there's probably going to be quite a crowd. it will include lawyers. it could include justice department officials. they're going to have over 700 observers out in various places, many of them targeted to areas that have his historically been
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at issue: mine ontario areas. that's one. another one michael brought up was the provisional ballot issue >> brown: particularly in ohio ohio for a variety of reasons tends to vote a lot more provisional ballots than most other states. the predictions are somewhere between 200-300,000. provisional ballot would be if you showed up at the polling place and said you're at the wrong polling place. you say i want to vote now. you would be allowed to vote on what's called a provisional ballot which would be counted later. in ohio it's not counted for ten days. there have been a number of issues in ohio, including a current lawsuit over, the paperwork that is filled out for these provisional ballots and whether or not that might cause more mistakes and more of them to be rejected which if the election were very close within what they call the margin of litigation could really make a big difference in terms of the final count >> brown: these things would obviously play into especially
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close, close races in some of these battle ground states and the potential for recounts when and if such ballots were counted, right? >> that's right. a lot of states have automatic recount laws which is that if they're within a certain margin, usually around a half percentage point of the vote in a state, they have to go to a recall. it's exactly right that those provisional ballots in ohio will to be counted until november 17. so if ohio is, as they say, the lynch pin of deciding who is president, if it's a very close race we won't really know until well after the election. there's a new wrinkle that's just come up in the last few days which is that it turns out that the state of ohio has a very flawed way of checking people's voter registration records to see if they're really registered. a lot of voters who applied for absentee ballots who are eligible got letters saying, no,
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you're not registered. you're not registered. it turned out they were. there's now a push to try to get the secretary of state to allow counties who do this, who do the counting to not just press one search button but really double check and triple check before rejecting ballots and throwing people off. you can have potentially thousands of people disenfranchised by typo, by mistake. those are the kinds of things especially we're seeing it in ohio this year. ohio is bidding hard to be the new florida. but it's a closely contested state for one reason >> brown: michael waldman i want to ask you about this because i know you've been following the impact of sandy. briefly in our last minute here, tell us about how that impact or potentially can impact the voting. >> well, you can imagine this devastating storm with all its loss of life and disruption of communities also threatens to disrupt the election.
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you have in new york city, for example, between 20-40,000 people who are not living at home, who are homeless. how are they going to vote? just late today, governor andrew cuomo issued an executive order saying that if you are displac displaced, you're from a county that is displaced by the hurricane, you can go into any polling place in the state and pass what's called an affidavit ballotment you can vote for president and senator principally. that's a terrific thing. in doing that, governor cuomo joined new jersey, who did a similar thing. look, this is a bad situation it's making the best of it. at least som of those people will have the opportunity to vote. but we could also see turnout rates be down pretty substantially in the northeast which could, of course, affect maybe not the electoral vote but what the final outcome of the popular vote is. so this hurricane wasn't messing
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around when it came to messing with the election. >> brown: michael waldman and kurt anderson, thanks both very much. >> thank you . >> ifill: we'll be tracking voting across the country tomorrow on our newshour live blog, and pulling in images of people casting their ballots on a special tumblr site. >> woodruff: the race for the white house is not the only thing on the minds of voters. in many places not competitive at the presidential level, state measures about issues ranging from drugs and marriage to taxes and gambling are getting a lot of attention. to help walk us through some of the hot questions on the ballot we are joined by jennie bowser, a senior fellow with the national conference of state legislatures. thank you for being with us. let me just ask you to start out by helping us, reminding us what is the difference between a referendum, a ballot initiative and so forth > sure. these can be hard to sort out. what appears on your ballot will vary depending on what state you
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live in. a good umbrella term to describe all of these measures is ballot measure. that's really including all the various types. those types would be then the legislative referendum. that's something that the legislature has put on the ballot for voters to consider. and then in 24 states there's a process called the initiative. this allows citizens to draft a proposed law or constitutional amendment, circulate it for signatures on a petition. if they get enough signatures it goes for a popular vote on the ballot. there are 42 of those this year. then we have a third category called the popular referendum. this one is a little bit hard to wrap your head around. but basically what it is is a chance for voters to wee in on something that the legislature has recently passed. so voters can either approve the legislature's new law or they can veto it. if they veto it, that new law will never take effect. >> woodruff: just quickly, you were saying there were more referenda on ballots this year than in the recent past.
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>> sure. this year we have 12 popular referenda. that's the people's veto where the voters can veto something the legislature has done. it's typical in an even-year november election to see three, maybe four of those. six would be a lot. you have to go out way back to the 1920s to find another election when there were 12 on the single ballot. >> woodruff: why do you think that is? >> you know, i think it's tom at i can of the political polarization we have in america right now. these tend to be issues that have very strong partisan appeal. things like same-sex marriage ordealing with public employee labor unions, things like that. so the legislature takes action that is highly partisan and the opponents sort of push back at the legislature's action through that popular referendum. really it's kind of the same thing that we saw with the increased use of the recall. over the last two years in places like wisconsin. >> woodruff: tell us about those states that are looking at gay
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marriage. the issue of same-sex marriage on the ballot. is it four different states? >> yes. four states this year. in maine, they have a citizen initiative that would legalize same-sex marriage. this one is really important to watch because no states' voters have ever been asked to legalize same-sex marriage before. 32 states have voted on restricting same-sex marriage but no state voted on legalizing it. in maryland and washington, they have popular referenda. so this is that process i was talking about. in those two states the legislatures pass bills that legalize same-sex marriage. and opponents have pushed back by qualifying a popular referendum to the ballot. if voters say yes in maryland and washington tomorrow they're agreeing with the legislature that same-sex marriage should be legalized in their state. if they say no, these new bills will not take effect. and then finally we have minnesota. they have the same kind of question that we've seen in so many states over the last decade-and-a-half. let's define marriage as between
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one man and one woman. >> woodruff: you have several tax measures that are on the ballot. measures having to do with marijuana. >> yes. marijuana is on the ballot in six states this year. here in colorado and then also in oregon and washington there are measures that would legalize the sale and use of marijuana for anybody age 21 or over. this is not medical marijuana. this is essentially legalizing recreational use of marijuana. then in three other states, arkansas, massachusetts and montana, they're voting on medical marijuana tomorrow. >> woodruff: we also want to bring up quickly california where there are a number of issues on the ballot. having to do with taxes. and a number of other topics. >> california is really ground zero for the initiative process. they tend to have more initiatives than any other state. they have 11 this year including two competing measures that would increase taxes in different ways to fund education and help balance the state
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budget. >> woodruff: we also know that health care is on the ballot. remind us where and what that would mean if those were to pass. >> sure. there are five states that have votes on the affordable care act this year. in missouri, it's bill that would prohibit the state from setting up a health insurance exchange. in the other four states it's a broader measure that attempts to block really implementation of the affordable care act. it sets up the right to have private insurance as a constitutional right in the state and prohibits the state from requiring anybody to buy insurance or penalizing anybody for failing to buy insurance. >> woodruff: and just quickly what are the polls showing on those? do we know much about the standing? >> well, you know, i have not checked the polls on those recently but that issue has been on the ballot five times before in the last two years. in each case voters have approved it by a very wide margin. >> woodruff: jenny bowser with the national conference of state legislatures, thank you very much >> thanks so much for having me.
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ifill: we have posted a detailed analysis of the major ballot initiatives. you can read that on our politics page. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. president obama and mitt romney sprinted through swing states making their final arguments on election eve. and the northeast took slow steps toward recovery, one week after hurricane sandy hit. everyone gets sick, even the leader of the free world. hari sreenivasan takes a look at how health affects the presidency. >> sreenivasn: this year's candidates have clean bills of health, but that hasn't always been the case. we look at the ailments of past presidents, from depression to influenza to heart attacks. that's on our health page. as we see a final day of campaign ads, historian michael beschloss reflects on a 1976 commercial for gerald ford that never aired because it was too emotional for its time. and on our world page, video journalist toby muse filed a
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report of his visit with the gravediggers of aleppo, syria. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening, with full coverage of election day voting, and stay with you all night with results and analysis as the polls close. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects
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